Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Michael Kinsley's newest book is titled:

Please Don't Remain Calm, a collection of his essays from Slate, which he ran.  He is now the editor of the Los Angeles Times.  Although he is certainly literary, as the quote below proves to me, he is in fact of dubious political acumen.
Fleischer speaks a sort of Imperial Court English, in which any question, no matter how specific, is parried with general assurances that the emperor is keenly aware and deeply concerned and firmly resolved and infallibly right and the people are fully supportive and further information should be sought elsewhere. [...]

The Middle East? "I think that, as always, the President wants events to develop over time in a way that he hopes will be fruitful …" That "as always" is truly bravura banality. Never for one moment has the president wavered in his desire to see events develop in ways he hopes will be fruitful. Logicians may puzzle over how it is even possible to hope that your own hopes be dashed, but in case it is possible, the president is not doing it.

When Fleischer produces a rare vivid image, it appears to be unintentional. But is it? On Wednesday, he was asked about the president's thoughts regarding the American who was caught fighting for the Taliban. Rather than say he didn't know the president's thoughts or that the president had no thoughts—dangerous territory—Fleischer rushed through only a few throat-clearing pieties to declare that "the president hasn't really entered the realm of conjecture." The image lingers, like one of those huge allegorical paintings in art museums: George W. Bush poised at the portals of the Realm of Conjecture. Will he enter?
That said, I don't know where he gets off naming his book that without consulting me.  The opposite of Remain Calm is FIGHT!, anyway.

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